Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Scotlandd's Midges - Are they really that bad?

Scotlandd's Midges - Are they really that bad?

Aug 22nd, 2000, 07:21 AM
  #1  
Jeen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Scotlandd's Midges - Are they really that bad?

Hi,

My fiance and I are considering taking our camping equipment with us for our honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands and Orkney Islands next month, but have heard from several locals that the "midges" can be a real pest and we may want to reconsider. Does anyone know how bad they really are? I am from Michigan and know what mosquitos are like but midges I am not so sure about. We need to decide if we should just scrap the camping idea and hope to find lodging easily instead.

Additionally, if anyone has any suggestions for places or things, etc.. not to be missed in the Scottish Highlands and Orkneys, we would be most appreciative.

Thanks!
 
Aug 22nd, 2000, 07:47 AM
  #2  
frank
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Midges are tiny, silent & come in clouds.
They are bad but not impossible.They are usually absent, it's only when the wind drops they emerge (as they are so small), so on islands there is usually enough of a breeze to hold them down.
Also ,they emerge mainly around sunset.
Alternatively, camp near the shore.
Avoid camping in heather or moorland.
Best repellant is Jungle Formula, it's 75% diethyl touluimide (deet) specially formulated for midges.Less concentrated stuff isn't very effective.
Citronella works to some extent.
Pyretherum works very well - but only inside a tent.(these are coils you light & leave to glow for hours)Saves you waking in the morning to find the entire inside of the tent coated with midges.(not nice)These are 100% effective.
There is a bright side to Scottish camping - easy to camp outside official sites, plenty of fresh water.
Official sites tend to have less midges, they pick reasonable areas.
 
Aug 22nd, 2000, 11:43 AM
  #3  
Sheila
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jeen;

1. By the time you get here, the worst will be over.

2. You won't find them at all in Orkney and the further you move from the west coast (known in our house as the "wet coat" for obvious reasons), the less you will have a problem.

3. there is stuff called Autan available here which is less expensive than deet and seems to me to work pretty well

I really don't think you will have a problem.

I suspect the reason you ain't getting too many replies to your other question is that it's too wide. Can you narrow down to a)route and b)what do you like? then maybe we can give some quality input
 
Aug 23rd, 2000, 04:38 AM
  #4  
frank
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Sheila is right, most of the midges will be gone by then.
NB - Autan is in fact weak deet - its only around 5% & so doesn't work for everyone.(not me anyway - they bite me right through it)
In the Orkneys, see some of the many monuments, stone circles etc.
 
Aug 23rd, 2000, 06:58 AM
  #5  
Jeen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks for your input. As far as I know, we are going to be staying along the Western Coast and making our way over to Scrabster for the ferry to Stromness(?). We like to do light hiking, and viewing wildlife, and eating a nice meal along the way. We are not into opulance or being waited on 'hand and foot' but we are not into roughing it in rugged mountain ranges either. The main reason we thought we should bring camping gear is so that we know we would always have a place to sleep and not have to go searching for lodging or make reservations. As for sights, I've heard about Smoo Cave and some other natural formations on the west coast that we were thinking of visiting unless it is not worth it. Once in the Orkneys, specifically Mainland Island, we know we want to visit Skara Brae and some of the other sights. Then we will return to continental Scotland and then go down the East Coast probably stopping in Dornoch on the way and past Loch Ness to head back down eventually to Glasgow. We will have 12 days total for all this.
 
Aug 23rd, 2000, 01:08 PM
  #6  
Sheila
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jeen

I tried to find your earlier post, but Fodors is defeating me. As I recall you intend to get married here. Is that right? Oban? If so, could I suggest that, whatever else you do, you go for a really nice place to stay first night out.

"Western Coast" (we say West Coast- minor cultural point)
"and making our way over to Scrabster for the ferry to Stromness(?)."

OK seems to me like your general route should be Oban, Fort William, Mallaig, Skye, Kyle, Glen Carron to Garve, Ullapool, Lairg, Tongue, Scrabster. Does that s eem right to you? How long do you want to take to do it?

"We like to do light hiking, and viewing wildlife, and eating a nice meal along the way. We are not into opulance or being waited on 'hand and foot' but we are not into roughing it in rugged mountain ranges either."
When "we" have the route sorted out we can fit this stuff into it.
"The main reason we thought we should bring camping gear is so that we know we would always have a place to sleep and not have to go searching for lodging or make reservations."
Do bring it if you want but you are well past the peak tourist season and will have no difficulty getting good quality, good value accommodation without booking. You are driving, aren't you?

"As for sights, I've heard about Smoo Cave"- wow!. I hadn't! But I have now. By the looks of it, you need to go round by Cape Wrath and Durness- they do wildlife cruises from the cave, May to September.
"and some other natural formations on the west coast that we were thinking of visiting unless it is not worth it."- Ok what others?

"Once in the Orkneys, specifically Mainland Island," (that's Mainland)
"we know we want to visit Skara Brae and some of the other sights."
like the Brough of Birsay, the Stones of Stenness, and the Ring of Brogar, Stromness old town and Maes Howe and the Tomb of the Eagles, the Curchill Barriers and the Italian Chapel and the Old man of Hoy and shop in Jane whatsername's place and read some George Mackay brown and see St magnus cathedral and take one of Go-Orkney's wildlife tours, and see the RSPB reserves. great places to eat include The Creel in St Margaret's Hope and a restaurant up a lane in Stromness called the Hamnavoe. How many days?
"Then we will return to continental Scotland" (continental?)
"and then go down the East Coast probably stopping in Dornoch on the way and past Loch Ness to head back down eventually to Glasgow."

Route is fairly obvious East coast to Inverness, down to Fort William; then to ring the changes? back through GlenCoe to the Central Highlands, maybe right along Loch Tay to Aberfeldy and Dunkeld, then Perth Stirling and Glasgow. How many days?
 
Aug 23rd, 2000, 02:05 PM
  #7  
John
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jeen, If you get to Smoo Cave (interesting but few Viking artifacts left laying about by now), a dynamite drive southward can be had via a small road (not even a "B" designation I think - you'll need a good map) which leaves Loch Eribol and goes south toward Altnaharra across some of the loneliest (and loveliest) country in Scotland, past Ben Hope, and, really cool, Dun Dornadilla, (sp?) a Broch, or stone fort from Pictish times, just sitting there next to the road, where it's been for a couple thousand years or so. Sutherland is a wonderful part of the north Highlands, and will help provide some continuity between the northern Isles and the west coast.
 
Aug 24th, 2000, 08:44 AM
  #8  
Jeen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Sheila,

Yes, we are getting married in Oban on the 9th and then hanging around there and on Mull until Wednesday morning. Then we will probably spend 4 to 5 days touring the "WEST" Coast (note that I said it correctly this time.. thank you for pointing that out) and then probably 2 to 3 days on Mainland in the Orkneys, then heading back to Scrabster (on the mainland? What do I call this? Going from the Mainland in Orkney back to the mainland of Scotland?? obviously "continental" was wrong so hoping you will enlighten me), then probably 3 days to head back to Glasgow. We will have toured around Stirling and Edinburgh, the Borders and Glencoe region, etc... the week and 1/2 before the wedding so will most likely stay north and west of Glasgow for those 3 days heading back. We will have a vehicle so we are free to go wherever and however we wish so long as petrol is readily available in the highlands. As for the natural formations I was reading about, I guess I was wrong as it is not on the West Coast but near John O' Groats and is the "Stacks of Duncansby". Is that area nice?
Maybe in light of what you are saying about the peak tourist season being past, we will opt instead for reasonably priced B & B's unless the camping in the highlands is awesome in scenery compared to where lodgings are available. Any comments?

Also, sounds like tons to do on Mainland in the Orkneys - that is great.
Thanks for all your input this far - we will have a honeymoon to quite remember I am sure! (Thanks also to John for his tidbits - will try that route).
 
Aug 24th, 2000, 03:09 PM
  #9  
Sheila
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jeen

Yes, we are getting married in Oban on the 9th -
where are you staying? Somewhere special?

Then we will probably spend 4 to 5 days touring the "WEST" Coast -
Day 1 Oban to Fort William to Mallaig then get the ferry to Armadale on Skye. Stay overnight.

day 2 Kyle of Lochalsh to loch carron; over the Bealach nam Bo to Applecross; round to Toridon and up to Gairloch and Poolewe; down to Mellon Udrigle for the name is nothing else; then straigh tround Loch Broom to Ullapool.

Day 3 Ullapool to Inchnadamph, Scourie, take in Kinlochbervie, Durness then John's route round Loch Eribol and south to Altnaharra past Ben Hope and on through Strathnaver to Bettyhill which is only 31 odd miles from Scrabster.(which is on the mainland. It's Orkney Mainland and the mainland. Easy really;

then probably 3 days to head back to Glasgow.-

Route is fairly obvious:-

day 1-East coast to Inverness, then come down to Speyside and see some of our east coast mountains.

day 2 come down to pitlochry then west to Loch Tay and Glen Lyon. Stay in Dunkeld

Day 3 -see Perth and take a zip out to the east and come back through the East Neuk of Fife as far south as Leven, then along by Loch leven and west to Kincardine Bridge and a quick charge to Glasgow.
so will most likely stay north and west of Glasgow -

Don't go too for west or you'll get wet feet(boom boom!)
so long as petrol is readily available in the highlands.-
readily available but not cheap. The price of petrol in the UK comes a culture shock to most Americans (are you from the US?). the price of petrol inthe Highlands comes as a shock to most Brits!

As for the natural formations I was reading about, I guess I was wrong as it is not on the West Coast but near John O' Groats and is the "Stacks of Duncansby". Is that area nice? -
Mmmm nice? Bleak, yes, uninhabited, yes, stark beauty, yes; don't miss it. And congratulations on being one of thefew who realises that there is part of Scotland (nearly half, in fact) north of the Great Glen. But "nice"? Maybe not.
Maybe in light of what you are saying about the peak tourist season being past, we will opt instead for reasonably priced B & B's -

I would. But then I'm a woose and a weedy wet.

unless the camping in the highlands is awesome in scenery compared to where lodgings are available. -

Not as such. The B&Bs are in just as nice places, but you can seriously get away from it all by wild camping. If you've got the tent packed, fine. If not, travel light and leave it behind.


If that route seems about right, let us know and I'll add in the sights.
 
Aug 24th, 2000, 03:25 PM
  #10  
Daniel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jeen,

The Highlands are one of my favourite places...hope you have lots of fun on your honeymoon.

A nice area, previously mentioned, is Lairg. There's an excellent caravan park there that you can pitch a tent or rent a caravan at. They have great facilities...showers, toilets & a restaurant on site. I've stayed there a couple of times now as it's owned by friends of mine. If you'd like more details feel free to e-mail me.

Daniel
 
Aug 25th, 2000, 06:30 PM
  #11  
Jeen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi again Sheila,

Yes, we have a great big old house in Oban and are quite looking forward to it (hanging with our "rellies" for a few days) and yes, we're from the States. In order to lessen the shock, what are we to expect in terms of petrol prices? (I promise to be sitting down upon reading your response.) As for your suggested itinerary, sounds good to me although we like to drift along with a loose idea of where to go that is always open to change depending on our mood or the weather or a suggestion from a local, etc... We also love nature and raw beauty. (We were in NZ and Milford Sound last year and LOVED IT - hoping the Highlands will be similarly awe-inspiring). So, please do go on and let me know what you would suggest in terms of sights.
 
Aug 26th, 2000, 10:25 AM
  #12  
Daniel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jeen,

Petrol prices in Scotland right now are ranging between 85-95 pence a litre, more as you get further north

Daniel
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:54 AM.